Duke Ellington's Sacred Concert

Discussion in 'TM Lounge' started by ChasStarr, Apr 28, 2004.

  1. ChasStarr

    ChasStarr Pianissimo User

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    Feb 22, 2004
    NE Louisiana
    The big band I'm in had the opportunity to play Duke Ellington's - The Best of the Sacred Concerts last night. My first impression on starting the rehearsals for this thing was "I'm not sure about this". But, after the performance last night, what a gas it was to play. We hooked up with the local Masterworks Choral group and a local tap dancer (really, it takes one) and rehearsed with them for the past few weeks and put it together for one performance. We drew about 700 for the concert and got to put a few bucks in our pockets as well.

    The thing that I'm most thankful for though is the fact that we actually had the opportunity to participate. This was a once in a lifetime deal.

    Very few recordings exist of this program and you actually have to rent the music. (I believe the cost for rental was $500) On trumpetstuff.com you can hear Jon Faddis playing an excerpt of part of the concert.

    If you're in a big band and have the opportunity to get your hands on this music, absolutely go for it! You won't regret it!

    PS. I'll warn you though; You better have a serious Bari sax and clarinet player and a couple of seriously screaming trumpets. The range requirement is unbelievable!

    PSs. If any here have played this work before, I'd be interested in hearing your thoughts.

    Thanks,

    Charles Starr
    Equinox Jazz Orchestra
    Northeast Louisiana
     
  2. orchtrpt

    orchtrpt Pianissimo User

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    Mar 4, 2004
    I have never played that stuff but I am familiar with the works. If I am not mistaken there were -3- sacred concerts. I think the 2nd one was one of the most "acclaimed" I believe it was the second where thousands of people turned out to try and hear it at a large cathedral in NYC. I believe 1968

    It would be interesting to know if Mr. Wilmer Wilmer was around the city back then and maybe was there or knew about it. Maybe he has some duke stories. These sacred concerts we towards the end of Dukes life / career.

    There is some great stuff in all of them so Im sure a "Best of" must be fantastic. So were you playing Cat Andersons part? :D That guy was UNBELIEVEABLE!

     
  3. ChasStarr

    ChasStarr Pianissimo User

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    Feb 22, 2004
    NE Louisiana
    I actually play the second book in this big band, so after I heard the recording I felt safe that our lead guy would get the bulk of the real high stuff with me possibly helping out where needed. Well, in "Best of the Sacred Concerts" book the extreme register stuff was in the second book. :shock: We worked it out with both of us trading out as needed.

    One interesting thing though. I play a 75 LA Benge 3X+. Our lead guy plays a Schilke B1 LB. There's a part at the end of the 1st movement called "In the Beginning" where I had to play a D above double C and after that some single notes up to the E above Double C going from the B ascending chromatically. My Benge gets real squirrely slotting wise after the A above high C so in the dress rehearsal I asked to borrow his Schilke just to see if the slotting might be a little better. I almost didn't give his horn back! :D The upper register on his Schilke was rock solid!

    Well, we're in the middle of playing, our lead guy has about an eight bar high register solo he's helping me out with before a one bar rest and then I have to play the above mentioned extreme stuff (IMO). The conductor looks back at us and he sees our lead guy finish his solo, take out his MP, hand his horn to me, I stick my MP in and finish the rest of the piece. Freaked him out so bad that he stopped conducting, his mouth dropped open and waited for the drummer to pick the beat back up. :D

    This was one fun concert!
     
  4. wiseone2

    wiseone2 Artitst in Residence Staff Member

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    Nov 19, 2003
    Brooklyn,NY
  5. ChasStarr

    ChasStarr Pianissimo User

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    Feb 22, 2004
    NE Louisiana
    Hi Wilmer,

    Thanks for the heads up on Duke Ellington celebration. I've had the opportunity to listen for a couple of hours now. My wife's been out of town and it's just been me and the little guy.

    How was it to play with the man? I wish I would have had the opportunity, not suggesting that I'm good enough, I'm not, but it would have been a dream come true.

    The only thing I can do now is play in a big band that covers some of his music.

    I will have the opportunity to play with Bill Watrous this week. Unbelievable trombone player and pretty nice guy to boot.
     
  6. orchtrpt

    orchtrpt Pianissimo User

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    Mar 4, 2004
    Hi Wilmer,

    Don't tempt us like that :lol:

    If you get a chance please tell us a little bit about working with Duke. Who what when where and why :D

    Were you around NYC in 68 for the Sacred Concert? Did you know any of his trumpet players?

     

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